Abby Bresler is an organizer from Lexington, MA. Currently taking a year off from Dartmouth College, Abby is the coordinator of Hazon’s Jewish Youth Climate Movement and a member of Sunrise Movement’s National Disability and Accessibility Team, which she co-founded in 2019. At college, Abby co-founded and co-coordinated Sunrise Dartmouth as well as Access Dartmouth, a club to foster disability community and create accessible change on campus. Next year, Abby will be a senior at Dartmouth, where she is pursuing a major in environmental studies and a minor in creative writing. In her free time, Abby enjoys cooking, writing poetry, singing, and spending time outdoors.
Avi Simcha is organizing with the Boston Center for Independent Living. He is building power with current and former nursing home residents to take collective action towards expanding affordable and accessible housing alternatives, as COVID-19 has spread rapidly through nursing homes. Avi Simcha attended Mount Holyoke College, where he earned his BA in Neuroscience and minored in Movement & Healing Studies. He is currently pursuing his Master’s in Occupational Therapy at Tufts University. Avi Simcha is passionate about empowering autistic young adults and normalizing autistic ways of being. He enjoys engaging in Jewish ritual and community, learning about disability justice, and noticing hidden treasures while walking around his neighborhood. Avi Simcha lives on Massachusett land in the Boston area with his cat, Nova.
Danielle Silk is a white DeafDisabled queer Ashkenazi Jewish femme who grew up on unceded Southern Pomo and Graton Rancheria land in Sonoma County, California. She cares deeply about Disability Justice, language justice, and access within and to the arts. Danielle coordinates the Youth Services Program at Deaf Counseling, Advocacy, and Referral Agency (DCARA) where she serves Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, Hard of Hearing, and Late-Deafened young people in Northern California. A dancer with Urban Jazz Dance Company, a Deaf-led dance company employing professional Deaf and hearing dancers, she has toured nationally and internationally highlighting diverse Deaf experiences through dance. She received a B.A. in English Creative Writing from Mills College and an M.A. in Deaf Education from Gallaudet University. Danielle currently lives on unceded Ohlone land in Oakland, CA, with her two Boston Terriers, Raya and Tavi.
Emma Gelbard is an artist living in Boston. She graduated from Cornell University in 2015 with a degree in Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, as well as concentrations in Art History, Creative Writing, and Fine Arts. Emma’s art ranges from banners and installations for protests to paintings in galleries. It focuses on how strange it is to have a body, and how wonderful it is to share stories with it. Powerful stories are what brought her to the fight for immigrants’ rights in the US. She organizes primarily with Never Again Action and its partner groups. She looks forward to a liberated world without borders..
Emunah Woolf grew up in Toronto, Ontario, in a very Jewishly involved Sephardic household. Emunah is a queer and disabled social work student and disability researcher, focused on disabled post-secondary students and their experiences with self-advocacy. Chronic Pain Youth is an organizing project started by Emunah to create space for youth with chronic pain and chronic illness to share their stories, build community with one another, and engage in collective advocacy. This initiative aims to focus particularly on experiences of multiple marginalization and medical neglect. Emunah has also worked to create space for 2SLGBTQ+ Jewish McMaster students to be able to meet one another as well as have discussions and events. Some activities Emunah enjoys outside of building space for and spending time with community include cooking, crafting, and theatre.
Enzi Tanner is a licensed social worker and over the last twelve years has worked for various social service agencies across the Twin Cities. Enzi currently works at Jewish Community Action in Minnesota as the Community Safety Organizer. Enzi has a passion for topics related to intersectionality, particularly in areas where race, class, gender, sexuality, and faith collide. Enzi is new to disability justice and excited to continue to grow and learn from this community. Enzi uses he/him pronouns.
Eviva Kahne (she/her) organizes communities for access to health care. Right now she works on access to wheelchairs and absorbent products through Medicaid. Eviva is disabled, and cares deeply about all people choosing and receiving health care services in a timely and streamlined way. Eviva organizes to make sure everyone’s health needs are a top priority–not just rich people. Eviva studied history and incarceration in college. In college, she also co-founded an anti-racist group that brings white people to organize authentically and sustainably for racial justice. Eviva grew up in Houston, lived in Colorado Springs, and is now in Cambridge. She enjoys hiking, playing with dogs, Broadway musicals, and cooking
Ivy Hest has been a community organizer for 15 years, and is excited to be learning from JOIN for Justice for a second time in her organizing career. She lives in Troy, NY, and is the Director of Communications and Administration with Columbia County Sanctuary Movement, working with immigrants in Upstate NY. Prior to this role, she was the Lead Organizer for a PICO federation in San Jose, CA, training organizers and supporting campaigns around mass incarceration, immigration, and education, and helped co-found Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) in Oakland, CA. In Boston, she organized with low-income seniors at Massachusetts Senior Action Council and with poor and homeless women at Rosie’s Place. She participated in JOIN’s Jewish Organizing Fellowship in 2007 and Catalyst Project’s Anne Braden Program. When she’s not organizing, she’s probably singing, knitting, or snuggling with her dog Ruggles and her spouse, another JOIN alum!
Jennifer Kemp is in training to become a Child Life Specialist. They are a Black, Jewish, disabled, queer person from Portland, Oregon. Jennifer went to school in Olympia, Washington and New York City studying sociology, political economy, mindfulness, and art. They volunteered at their local radio station covering social justice news and current affairs for many years, and have also worked with kids in a number of different capacities including as a teachers’ aide, after school instructor, and tutor. Most recently they worked for several years as a social justice puppeteer, writing plays about friendship, kindness, activism, race, gender, bullying, and abuse and performing them for elementary school aged students. Jennifer has been active with Black Lives Matter, Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, Books to Prisoners, Jewish Voice for Peace and Democratic Socialists of America. She enjoys reading, listening to records, writing comics and zines, cats, basketball, making art and doing yoga.
Jessie Lowell (they/she) grew up in the Southeast and moved to the Boston area to attend MIT, and has remained in the area ever since. They have a PhD in computer science from Brandeis University. Jessie is an active organizer and current member of elected leadership in the Boston chapter of Democratic Socialists for America (DSA), who is excited to build socialism in ways ranging from community safety organizing, to tenant organizing, to strike support, to immigrant solidarity, and more. They have particularly appreciated the opportunity to contribute to left Jewish community in Boston through DSA, by running the security team for the first post-Tree-of-Life-massacre vigil in Boston and by training a network of progressive Jews and Christians to create tailored community safety plans for events. They have been a street medic since 2011, and have also been active in sexual and intimate partner violence crisis support.
Kayla Neumeyer is a queer, disabled, and Jewish community organizer, religious educator, and speech-language pathologist based in Boston. She is the first child of Argentine immigrants and was raised in California before moving to the East Coast for college and graduate school. In her private practice, Kayla works with students with multiple disabilities and complex health needs, and provides therapy focused on augmentative and alternative forms of communication. Kayla organizes around immigrant justice with Never Again Action, and draws from her experiences in political education and nonviolent direct action training with IfNotNow, a movement to end US support for the military occupation of Israel/Palestine. When she’s not training or teaching humans, you can usually find her hanging out with her service dog Miles, gardening, painting, or crafting.
Kyle Rocco East is a mixed-race white Ashkenazi, Black, disabled, queer, non-binary, healer, performer and organizer passionate about holding space for the integration of those identities and communities. Recent projects at those intersections include co-founding the Wellness Action Project, a healer’s collective formed to support movement work and each other; and organizing fellow queer, trans and/or people of color with narcolepsy to challenge white supremacy and transphobia in their online support group. They currently organize with the Black Jewish Liberation Collective, where they engage in their passion for co-creating ritual and cultural events that create space for Black Jews to connect and feel seen in their whole selves. They also organize with Kol Tzedek for Black Lives, working to engage their congregation in the local abolitionist movement. They are a Reiki practitioner and are completing their second year of the Somatic Experiencing trauma healing training. They are also a singer and drag performer, recently nominated for Best Live Vocalist in the Philadelphia Nightlife Awards as their persona Kate Winslutt. They are originally from Brooklyn, NY, and are now rooted in Philadelphia, PA, on unceded Lenni Lenape land.
Mateo Rojas is a Jewish Indigenous immigrant from Paraguay now living in Boston, MA. His focus is in multiple areas including immigration justice with Cosecha Massachusetts and Never Again Action. He fights for racial justice with Freedom Fighters Coalition and Solidarity Against Hate groups. He has advocated for transgender/LGBTQ+ rights both in higher education and federal settings and organizes for Disability justice and mental health advocacy in policy change. He has worked with “The NAN Project” since 2016, educating and discussing suicide prevention using alternatives to calling 911 and destigmatizing mental health in educational and human services settings. He has been a speaker at various justice settings including Qwear’s Virtual 2020 pride event, the Jewish Activists for Immigration Justice of Western MA’s “Latinx and Jewish: Immigrant Narratives and Activism” event, Cosecha and NAA’s direct actions, PFLAG conferences for parents/guardians regarding the intersectionality of being transgender and disabled and how to support their children who are both, and the Young Democrats of Massachusetts Disability Caucus discussion of intersectionality in justice. He is a member of ACCESS South Shore, where they discuss disability justice and push for change in legislation and accessibility in MA. Mateo has participated in phone banking for Transgender rights and creating educational events such as ally training. In addition to fulfilling multiple leadership roles on campus as President of two disability clubs and Vice President of the GSA and various other campus organizations; Mateo graduated in 2017 Magna Cum Laude from Quincy College with dual degrees in Human Services and Behavioral Science. He is currently a concierge at an Assisted Senior Living Community in MA, and has stayed committed to keeping residents and staff safe and uplifted during the COVID-19 crisis. Mateo is passionate about being active in his synagogue and in his free time plays with his beloved service dog, Tilly!
Sahar L. Jones grew up in New York City as a member of the extended Syrian Jewish community in Brooklyn. A graduate of the Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling in Portland, Oregon, they have been practicing as an individual and family therapist for the past 5 years. They are passionate about decolonization & anti-racism, earth-based Reconstructionist Judaism, Mizrahi reconnection, and community-building through food, ritual, and song. They are thrilled to be working towards a goal of creating formal relationships of intercultural education and material support between Portland’s East-side Jewish community and Black and Indigenous community organizations in Oregon. They look to the California Bay Area organization Jews on Ohlone Land as their inspiration for this project.
Samantha Fein was born and raised in Tucson, AZ. She currently lives in the Boston area, where she works as an artist and educator. She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and her MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Prior to graduate school she spent a year in the Philippines as a Fulbright Scholar and worked with out-of-school youth on the streets of Manila. As a Spanish speaker, she has organized with the labor group Obreos Unidos and mentored immigrant high school students through Enroot. She also taught a creative writing course for incarcerated young men through the Right to Write program. Sam is a passionate advocate for young people in high-risk environments and is presently organizing to end institutionalized child abuse through the grassroots movement #breakingcodesilence and New England partners.
Shay McIntosh (she/her) is a Chicago native currently living in Boston. Driven by her women’s college education, she is excited to organize with women and trans people to combat gendered oppression. She is on the planning team of the Greater Boston Childcare Collective, which provides childcare so activism is accessible to parents, and credits many of her organizing skills to volunteering on the Markey campaign in 2020. She spends her days working in the nonprofit education sphere and her evenings making music, connecting with Jewish community, and zooming into lesbian book club.
Shayna Shawn Adelman is a 30-something activist from Atlanta, Georgia. She attended Georgia State University both full and part time while working several jobs and graduated in December 2020 with a degree in political science. Shayna always had an interest in social justice and wanting to help people, but her first hands on experience was with Occupy Atlanta starting in 2011. She learned a lot and is still close friends with many people she met there. In 2014, Shayna participated in Moral Monday Georgia, advocating for issues like repealing the state’s racist Stand Your Ground Law and fighting for Medicaid expansion. She was arrested at the Georgia State Capitol campaigning for both of these issues. She feels se was in good company; one of her fellow arrestees was (now) Senator Rapheal Warnock. Shayna was involved with NOW Georgia and has always been a strong advocate for reproductive justice and considers herself a loud, intersectional feminist. Attending Black Lives Matter protests after the murder of Michael Brown in 2014, she saw up close just how differently the police responded to protests when the crowd was mostly white versus when most protesters were people of color. Shayna believes in a multifaceted approach to social justice, with a combination of pushing for political reform and supporting progressive candidates while defending voting rights on the national, state, and local levels, but also direct action protests in many forms. She plans to spend the Fellowship organizing with her local Democratic Socialists of America chapter as well as other local organizations, primarily on disability justice, particularly among the most marginalized.
Silas Calame is a current undergraduate student at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. with dreams of teaching and empowering deaf students and their hearing peers and families to coexist in bilingual, bimodal spaces. Since 2017, he has served as the communications and public relations intern for Hillel at Gallaudet, which has instilled in him a passion for improving accessibility in Jewish culture and celebrating the traditions that have developed in Deaf Jewish communities. Born in Alabama, Silas currently lives in Illinois with his husband. He enjoys hiking, antiquing, and art journaling.
Shoshana Farias – bio and photo are forthcoming.
Stephanie Gray (they/them) is a disabled, non-binary queer femme Jew. They are an organizer, educator, and wellness consultant. They co-founded the Faulkner County Coalition for Social Justice in 2016 and currently serve as Board President. Since May, they are the Lead Organizer with a police divestment campaign, Reinvest in Conway. They are also a Research Fellow with the Global Center for Advanced Studies exploring queer, disabled, and Jewish temporalities and critical theory. They currently live in Arkansas with their four cats: Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Redford, Grace Kelly, and Bettie Page.